Sunday, May 19, 2019

Be still, my beating heart

Rachel Willis

We need to stop calling it a “fetal heartbeat law” it should be called an “embryonic cardiac vibration law” because it’s not considered a fetus until the 10th week of pregnancy (8th week from conception)

1. You could just as easily call some adult hearts "cardiac vibration" units. More on this below.

2. The distinction between a human embryo, human fetus, human baby, and a human adult is in essence the same distinction one would make between a canine embryo, a canine fetus, a puppy dog, and an adult dog. The point is embryo, fetus, puppy, and dog represent different stages of development in the exact same creature. If we aborted a canine embryo, we wouldn't say we aborted a mere clump of cells. No, we'd say we aborted a dog. Why not the same for a human being?

3. What relevant distinction does Rachel see in "weeks after pregnancy" vs. "weeks after conception"? Is she referring to a woman's last menstrual period? From what I've seen, physicians and scientists (embryologists) generally talk about weeks after conception.

4. Medical terms and stages and so forth are based on systems developed by physicians and scientists. A system is a general way to gauge roughly where the creature is along in its development in comparison to the majority of other creatures developing. However, it's not a hard and fast rule let alone scientific law. In fact, in a sense, the system is arbitrarily selected inasmuch as the system is based on a creature's external physical features which can vary between individuals in the same kind of creature and which can vary in different situations.

5. Importantly, the terminology and stages are based on physical characteristics. It's not as if doctors and scientists are able to directly detect and measure the internal élan vital (there's likely a better term for this) that drives and propels the creature toward continued development, toward life. Nevertheless we can infer this vital force exists.

and it’s not actually a heartbeat because in the sixth week (of pregnancy. 4th week from conception) an embryo does not have a developed heart, (or brain, or spine) it has a cluster of cells that can be detected vibrating or pulsing.

1. Some adults don't have fully developed hearts (or brains or spines), or even "beating" hearts, or even any hearts at all, but they're no less human beings. Simply consider people with artificial hearts, mechanical heart pumps, replacement heart valves, bioprosthetic hearts, and so on.

2. Not to mention some people undergoing major heart surgery (for example) will need to have their hearts stopped, then they'll be placed on a cardiopulmonary bypass machine that provides blood and oxygen for them while their heart is stopped. Does it mean they're no longer human beings when their heart isn't beating, but they instantly become human beings again when their heart starts beating again?

3. No, the baby's heart is not merely "vibrating". The heart beat may start as a flutter, but doesn't remain a flutter. The baby's heart will begin to beat at 4 weeks after conception (though usually it's not loud enough to be detected with common machines used in a doctor's office until a couple of weeks later).

4. What's the relevant distinction between "pulsing" (or pulsating) and "beating"? Doctors and nurses take your "pulse" which is a measure of the presence and rhythm of your heartbeat. Call it what you will, the point is that certain cardiac cells are conducting electrical signals which cause the heart to beat or pulse in a particular rhythm.

It is not doing the work of a human heart and is a weird and completely non-medical goal post with no connection to the start of personhood.

Why does having a heart beat matter in determining whether one is a human being? I've taken a dead frog's heart, applied various chemical solutions to the heart, and caused the heart to beat in a dead frog. Similarly, in some organ transplantations among deceased organ donors, their hearts are kept beating. So why the focus on the beating heart?

If it feels significant to someone wanting a baby, I can understand that, but it’s not science.

Your comments are riddled with unscientific and other deficiencies.

It’s main significance to a potential mother, depends entirely on the circumstances surrounding that pregnancy. To want a “heartbeat” and hear one is a beautiful thing. Just like peeing on a stick that says you’re pregnant is magic, if you want a baby. But just because you love the idea of a baby doesn’t magically make your urine a life.

Wut. What does urine have to do with heartbeats?

Pregnancy is sometimes or oftentimes detected based on the levels of a hormone called b-HCG (beta human chorionic gonadotropin) in a woman's urine. If the b-HCG levels in the urine are high enough, then it's likely the woman is pregnant.

However, if you wish to go with b-HCG levels, then b-HCG hormones begin being secreted in the very first week after conception! Much earlier than the first heartbeat.

And our poetic associations with heartbeats, and hearts cannot be the basis for stripping American women of their constitutional right to medical care.

But scientific ignorance can be used to argue for murdering babies?

1 comment:

  1. --hearts cannot be the basis for stripping American women of their constitutional right to medical care.--

    We need to consistently and mercilessly call out this sophistry and weasel words for what it is.

    Medical care is protecting the health of a person. Flushing with poisons or stabbing the brain with surgical scissors is murder.